SAN FRANCISCO and NEW YORK (June 15, 2016) — Dr. George Elbaum of San Francisco, a businessman and aerospace engineer, who writes and speaks about his experience as a child survivor of the Holocaust, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship on June 5 from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The ceremony took place during the Technion Board of Governors (BOG) meeting (June 4-8, 2016) on the university campus in Haifa.
Accompanied by his wife, Mimi Jensen, Dr. Elbaum was recognized for “devotion to the Technion and Israel . . . business accomplishments that have spanned the globe and bridged countries . . . and for sharing (your) story, in order to impart the message of tolerance to present and future generations.”
A steadfast supporter of the Technion and Israel, Dr. Elbaum is an active member of the American Technion Society (ATS) National Board of Directors, the ATS North Pacific Region Board and the Technion Board of Governors.
Together with his wife, he is a Technion Guardian — an honor reserved for those who support the Technion at the highest level. The couple has supported the Technion with gifts that include the George J. Elbaum Fund for the Satell Technion-MIT Leadership Program, the Whiteman International Foundation Fellowships (named after Dr. Elbaum's mother) in the Grand Technion Energy Program, and the Formula Student Race Car project.
Dr. Elbaum was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1938. As a child, he was smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto and lived with a series of Polish families who hid him and his Jewish identity from the Nazis. Only he and his mother survived, as they lost 10 family members to the Holocaust. In 1949, Dr. Elbaum immigrated to the U.S., and in 1955 he enrolled at MIT, where he earned four degrees — a bachelor’s and a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics, along with a second master’s and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering.
He began his career in Los Angeles in the aerospace industry, and then moved into the international business arena. In 1972, he co-founded Intertorg, a consulting firm representing American and European corporations in the Soviet Union (including General Motors, U.S. Steel, Reebok, etc.), where he marketed their products and services. After 25 years, he switched gears again, turning to commercial real estate investment and development.
In 2010, he wrote and published Neither Yesterdays Nor Tomorrows, a book of vignettes from his childhood during the Holocaust, and started speaking to student groups across the U.S. and in Poland about survival and tolerance. In 2014, he followed his first book with a second volume, Yesterdays Revisited, about the feedback/letters he’s received from students at the 100-plus venues where he’s spoken.
The five-day BOG meeting was comprised of award ceremonies and dedications, presentations by speakers that included Middle East expert Ambassador Dennis B. Ross, and other events such as an Innovation Panel Discussion, featuring Technion graduates such as Dov Moran, inventor of the DiskOnKey (USB flash drive). Other San Francisco-area participants included Ruth Owades and Lou Lenzen.
Photo: George Elbaum (right) receiving an Honorary Fellowship from Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie at an awards ceremony on the Haifa campus on June 5, 2016.
Children experienced the Holocaust in a unique way. Some had their identities changed and lived with new families, others became the young providers for sick parents and siblings. 1.5 million children were killed in the Holocaust. Amidst the tumultuous landscape, children still created adventure, experienced the ups and downs of friendship and love, and some even wrote it all down for future generations to serve as witnesses to their tenacity, creativity, and spirit.
"I would enthusiastically recommend this program. I believe that nowhere else would a traveler get the experiences that you provided." - Traveler, 2018
Trip includes: Warsaw, Warsaw Zoo, Treblinka, Tykocin (where we will help restore a Jewish cemetery), Bialystok, Krakow, Schindler's Factory, Auschwitz-Birkenau; meetings with a survivor, rescuer, and local educators and students; and Shabbat dinner in Krakow.
"I would definitely recommend this trip to others. Absolutely. The trip gave me a much needed moral clarity about what matters in the world, in politics, and in human relations." - 2018 Traveler
Deadline for application: February 1, 2020.
Itinerary (subject to change)
DAY 1, Saturday, July 4 - Arrive Warsaw | Meet group, Welcome Dinner, optional evening walking tour
DAY 2, Sunday, July 5 - Warsaw | Warsaw Ghetto, POLIN Museum
DAY 3, Monday, July 6 - Warsaw to Bialystok by bus | Treblinka, meet with rescuers - Righteous Among Nations, Overnight in Bialystok
DAY 4, Tuesday, July 7 - Bialystok | Visit Tykocin, volunteer work to maintain Jewish cemetery; tour provided by local students
DAY 5, Wednesday, July 8 - Bialystok to Krakow by train | Tour Krakow Jewish heritage sites; visit Galicia Jewish Museum, Schindler’s Factory
DAY 6, Thursday, July 9 - Krakow | Kazimierz District; afternoon visit to Auschwitz
DAY 7, Friday, July 10 - Krakow | Morning visit to Birkenau, lunch at the Oswiecim Jewish Center. Optional afternoon walking tour in Krakow. Closing dinner with live Klezmer music.
DAY 8, Saturday, July 11 - Depart Krakow
This trip is geared toward those who want an in-depth and meaningful experience with other open-minded travelers. Pre-reading materials will be suggested, and a pre-trip meeting will be held in Seattle in late May. For those researching and exploring their own family histories, we are happy to help make suggestions or connections. Clock hours are provided for Washington State teachers. Custom extensions are available. Please note: Each day’s schedule is quite full. Please consider extending your trip if you want more personal exploratory time. This trip includes a significant amount of walking.
$2995 (per person, double occupancy) | Single room supplement: $590
$500 deposit is due upon application.The deposit will be applied to the payment balance. Payment due in full May 1, 2020. Costs are based on a group size of 15 and include: accommodation in 4- and 5-star hotels, breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 3 dinners, land transportation, all guides, and entry fees. Cost does not include airfare.
From past travelers:
"From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this experience. I didn't know what to expect at the beginning but I know I could never have asked for a better experience."
"The experience was once in a lifetime and the information was so in depth!"
"I am blown away by the experience I had between the people I met, the tour guides we were lucky enough to have, as well as the opportunities for seeing what tourists don't get to see."
"I'm still processing all the information we received. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Thank you!"
"The meaning and depth of emotion and learning with both head and heart seems to increase as time passes and I contemplate all I experienced."
"I never experienced a tour that was so well put together and carried out as this one."
"The trip was one of the best experiences of my life. I will never forget it."
Joe Lewinsohn was born in Berlinchen, Germany on May 16, 1937. On Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), the family’s store was vandalized. His father Edwin and 10,000 other Jewish men were arrested and spent weeks in Buchenwald, a German concentration camp. In 1939, scared for their lives, the Lewinsohns fled Germany for Shanghai, their only option. For six years, Joe’s family shared a room with three other refugee families in the decrepit Shanghai ghetto. When the war ended, they went to Chile to live alongside over 10,000 Jews who had spent the wartime years there.
Determined to make a better life for the family, Joe’s mother Berta joined her brother Leo in Seattle in 1947. Leo had accompanied the family in 1939 when they fled to Shanghai, but he was able to continue to America. In 1949, the rest of the family joined Berta, sponsored by Seattle bakery owner Harry Lippman. Joe graduated from Garfield High School and joined the Army. Upon his discharge, he earned Bachelors and Master’s Degrees from the University of Washington and began a teaching career in the Seattle School District that would last 35 years. He married Janet Altaras in 1965, and they have two sons (Joel and Peter), numerous grandchildren, and a dog named Mollie. Since 2017, Joe has been a member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau. As a refugee himself, Joe finds it important to reach out to students in similar situations.
- More About This Survivor:
Biography - Joe Lewinsohn
Joachim “Joe” Lewinsohn tells the story of his escape from Nazi Germany as a young boy and his childhood in Shanghai, China; Santiago, Chile; and finally Seattle.
“My mother, my sister, my grandmother were hidden in a convent, dressed as nuns... I was too young to be in the convent, so I was hidden with a Catholic family, a couple [with] no children. They pretended I was a cousin from the countryside." - Agi Day
Agi Day (nee Zagorka Herzog) was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia on May 13, 1940. When the Nazis invaded that country in 1941, she and her family fled, walking 196 miles to Budapest, Hungary where the country’s leader, Admiral Miklos Horthy, had vowed that Hungarian Jews would not be deported. Agi’s father, a Serbian Jew, was not protected by this pledge. Consequently, he fled in 1942 to hide in the countryside. In March 1944, however, Germany occupied Hungary, and the Nazis, with the zealous cooperation of the local gendarmerie, and later, the fascist Hungarian Arrow Cross party members, began deporting nearly 440,000 provincial Hungarian Jews to concentration camps, most to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Agi’s mother convinced a local priest to hide Agi, age 4, Veronica, age 16, herself and her mother in the priest’s apartment for six weeks. Subsequently, he found a hiding place in a convent for the two adult women and Agi’s sister. Agi, being too young to be hidden in a convent, was sent to live with two different Catholic families who passed her off as their cousin from the countryside. Agi was not reunited with her family until after liberation, which occurred on May 1, 1945. However, in 1946 they fled Hungary to escape Russian communism.
For over a year, they resided in a Displaced Persons Camp in Bad Gastein, Austria. From there, Agi and her mother moved to Salzburg, where her sister was already living. In 1949, Agi’s mother immigrated to Canada where she worked to save money for Agi’s passage. During the two years they were separated, Agi resided with her father in Vienna, Austria. She immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1951 to be with her mother.
Agi went on to become a teacher and marry. She and her husband had two children. In 1978, all four moved to Mercer Island, WA. Agi remains involved with the Holocaust Center for Humanity Speaker’s Bureau and tells her story to communities around the Pacific Northwest
- More About This Survivor:
Agi Day Full Testimony (2:53:25)
In 1946, Agi's family left by night on a dangerous boat voyage across Lake Neusiedl to Austria where they found refuge in Displaced Persons camps over the next three years.